MANSFIELD -- Lucas senior Tommy Zirzow knows there is something special happening in Richland County.
Call it an orange connection -- the orange-and-black of Lucas and the orange-and-brown of Mansfield Senior.
The talented running back and his Cubs teammates, who have their own state football semifinal on Saturday night, were on hand at Arlin Field on Friday afternoon to cheer on Mansfield Senior as the Tygers boarded the buses for their Division III state semifinal in Macedonia.
The Tygers (12-1) are headed to Macedonia Nordonia's Boliantz Stadium to take on Aurora (13-0) in a Division III state semifinal game at 7 p.m.
They left Mansfield with a police and fire department escort, cheered by adoring fans along the route out of town.
After rushing for more than 1,000 yards this season, Zirzow said he thinks the Cubs and the Tygers have inspired one another during the 2019 playoff run, now in its fourth week.
"Of course," he said. "It's a little bit like you want the attention and press, but you see how well they are doing and you want to keep it rolling. We're all in it together now and it's really good for Richland (County)."
The Cubs and head coach Scot Spitler were among a large contingent of fans gathered outside Arlin Field on Friday afternoon.
"Look at how many people are here," said Mansfield Mayor Tim Theaker. "There are a tremendous number of people here to support them. It means a lot to the community. I graduated from Mansfield Senior High and this is a once in a lifetime event, that you go to the final four."
Lucas football team (11-2) leaves for Columbus St. Francis DeSales Alumni Stadium on Saturday afternoon to take on Canal Winchester Harvest Preparatory (12-1) in a Division VII state semifinal at 7 p.m.
Zirzow said his team came to the send-off to let the Tygers know the Lucas faithful support them, too.
"This is super special," he said. "That's why we are out here, to show the Tygers we are behind them and show how the communities have come together. We love it."
Logan Niswander, the Cubs senior quarterback and defensive back, said he was excited for the Tygers.
"It's awesome. It's been a while since (a team from the area) has gone (to the state playoffs). Two teams going to the final four is a big deal," Niswander said. "I talk to (cousin) Clay (Caudill, tight end on Mansfield,) all the time. He said they were going to go far and I think that's awesome."
The plan is for the Tygers to return the favor on Saturday when it's time for Lucas to board the bus for its own trip to destiny.